President Duterte assured healthcare workers that they are free to choose the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine of their own choice if they do not wish to get the CoronaVac after thanking them for their sacrifices during the pandemic.
Duterte made the statement as he welcomed the 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines donated by the Chinese government at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City on Sunday, February 28.
In his speech during the arrival of the Chinese vaccine shots, the President thanked the medical frontliners for their sacrifices throughout the health crisis.
“To our dear medical frontliners, allow me to take this opportunity to thank you for your valuable and selfless contribution in the fight against COVID-19,” he said.
“We recognize the profound sacrifices you continue to make every single day, even at the cost of being away from your loved ones and risking your precious lives just to take care of the sick,” he added.
The President assured healthcare workers that the government is ready to provide them with whatever support they need in the fight against COVID-19.
“As I have mentioned before, I assure you that the government will always be by your side, ready to help in any way we can,” Duterte said.
In a press conference after the event, President Duterte said healthcare workers are free to choose the vaccine they wanted to be inoculated with after learning that many medical frontliners prefer western brands.
“Itong mga health workers, merong darating (To the healthcare workers, we have more vaccines coming). They have a choice. It’s either AstraZeneca or the Sinovac,” he said.
“Kung ayaw nila ng (If they do not want the) Sinovac, maghintay sila (they must wait). In a few days,” he added.
The Philippines is set to receive 525,600 doses of vaccines manufactured by British-Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca through the COVAX Facility. The delivery was initially reported to take place on March 1 but it will be delayed by about a week due to global supply issues.
“I was assured that it will be coming within the next few days. Kung yun ang gusto nila (If that is the vaccine they want), they have a choice,” President Duterte said.
Vaccinating healthcare workers is the government’s priority in its vaccination program against COVID-19.